Is self-pity a negative emotion I shouldn’t resist?


I felt so sorry for myself today. And I wanted to. I felt very justified! I knew I could do thought work around it (which I eventually did) but for a moment, it felt good to have a small pity party that lasted about 2 hours in the privacy of my home with no one around except my puppy. 🙂

A week ago, I said goodbye to my son as he boarded a plane for 2 years to Peru for a church service mission. I ADORE THIS KID. He is my pride and joy. I enjoyed the process of helping him prepare by taking him to doctors appointments for shots, getting his passport and visa paperwork in line, buying him everything he needed, and hiding little notes in his suitcase. I treasured our time together doing this. I have thoroughly enjoyed raising him, and I allowed myself the “clean pain” of the grieving process (which I’m still going through) knowing I wouldn’t see him, or even talk to him on the phone (except on Christmas and Mother’s day) for two years. I embraced all the feels and my heart felt heavy and raw.

Now that he’s gone, every Wednesday he’s given a small allotted time to email family and friends. I waited anxiously by my phone for news from him. First I received a rather lengthy “generic” email with literally hundreds of family and friends on the list. It was funny and informative. Next I received a shorter email that was more personal to only family. Finally, I saw that I received my own personal email from my son. I excitedly opened it only to find two sentences “Hey, I don’t have any time left, I hope you have a better week! I love you!” I was heartbroken!! I had loved him so hard, and done everything he could have ever wanted or needed to help him prepare, and that was all I got???!!! My healing heart was ripped open again. It wasn’t even that my manual for him was that he should write his mother first, it was that he should WANT to write me first. That’s what grateful children do, right? ha ha I let myself be sad. I cried over how much I missed him and how badly I wanted to hear from him. I felt like a blubbering pile of jealous motherhood. It didn’t feel that great, but I just let it be.

Then my best friend, my sister-in-law called out of the blue. I was able to talk through it. Of course he’s acting this way–it was what he did while he lived at home! He would hang out with friends over family any day of the week because that’s what teenagers do. I was on pins and needles to know if he was ok–he included me on the other emails and I found out he was more than ok–he is happy and thriving and learning the language and better than I could have imagined. I wanted to feel his love–he DID sent me an email, it’s not like he completely forgot about me! The moment I feel like I “deserve” something from my kids is always the moment I’m disappointed. 🙂

Here are the models I worked up:
C: My son is in Peru and wrote me last
T: I’m not even worth a more lengthy email? You know my love language is words and this is all I get? I did everything for you out of love and I’m not feeling it in return!
F: Utter sadness
A: Cry, make plans to send him a two sentence email next week so he knows how it feels. (I’m really mature right about now!)
R: Feel less love

Intentional thought:
C: My son is in Peru and wrote me last
T: I am so glad he has so many friends supporting him on this grand adventure. What a amazing experience it looks like he’s having. I am so happy he’s happy, that’s all I ever wanted.
F: Satisfied and relieved he’s ok
A: Continue writing him and praying for his safety and success
R: More love and compassion in my heart for my boy

Was it right to indulge in self-pity for a moment? At first I couldn’t wrap my head around doing thought work. It seemed unbearably difficult to find any thoughts that I WANTED to think to make me feel better. The one I wrote is the most believable to me right now, even though I know there are more powerful thoughts. Suggestions would be appreciated! I was telling my sister-in-law–isn’t it interesting that we think our kids need us, when really sometimes we’re the babies and we’re acting like we need them? I don’t want to be that crutch in his life–he’s an adult and gone, he can do whatever he wants and all I want to feel for him is love. Because that’s all anyone DESERVES. Plus he’s stinking amazing!!!

I’m super excited to come in August and meet you and the crew, I am learning so much about myself through scholars. xoxo Sarah